Josh Peters, streamer of RuneScape, was the unfortunate target of swatting earlier this month. He has since posted a response to his YouTube channel, and is equal parts saddening and enraging. For those who have managed to avoid the term, swatting is the act of calling a police department to have them send an armed response team to someone’s house. SWAT teams can break down doors, are armed to the teeth, and are not trained to be especially hospitable, to put it as mildly as physically possible. It is reprehensible, it is scarring and dangerous for those targeted—as well as their families, and, though under different names depending on where you live, it is entirely illegal. Peter’s rightful distress stemmed primarily from the danger the incident put his ten-year-old brother in, with ten armed officers threatening him as soon as he had opened the front door.
Josh opens with “I see you posting my address.” “I had police point a gun at my little brother because of you.” Much of the impact of the video is lost in text, so I recommend you watch it. It is a minor miracle no one has died or been seriously injured as a result of this dark trend, especially with the general violence of the US police as of late. I realize most people are not depraved enough to fail to see all that’s wrong with swatting, but some are, apparently. If you catch someone doing it, you can help mitigate the issue by reporting potential false alarms to the police yourself, and if you know anyone who might be part of the problem, remind them that their local misuse of emergency services/disorderly conduct/falsification/harassment and threat laws will gladly see them several years in prison.